The Silk Factory
Btater, al-Shuf, Lebanon
Prosper, Nicolas, Joseph and Antoine Fortuné Portalis
The silk industry was a very important part of the Lebanese economy - the transportation of silk and silk cocoons from Beirut to Marseille, for example, laid the foundations for maritime trade agencies in Lebanon. The loans and grants made to intermediaries and traders wishing to buy silk cocoons from farmers were some of the first financial traders, which later led to the establishment of the first Lebanese bank and to the development of the Port of Beirut. In Gaston Ducousso's book, The Silk Industry in Syria and Lebanon, published in 1912, the French Consul in Beirut counted no less than 183 spinning mills in Lebanon. In 1841, a team of spinners was brought from France to train young women in the art of spinning silk, something which was particularly foreign to the rural areas, where young women were not traditionally employed in this form of labour.
In 1841, Prosper, Nicolas, Joseph and Antoine Fortuné Portalis built the first spinning mill for reeling cocoons, in Btater in the Chouf region.
Jeff El-Msanne, Julien El Khoury "The Silk Factory" in "Sharing History", Museum With No Frontiers, 2024. https://sharinghistory.museumwnf.org/database_item.php?id=monument;AWE;lb;18;en
Prepared by: Jeff El-Msanne, Julien El Khoury
Copyedited by: Flaminia Baldwin
MWNF Working Number: LB 018